Oct 07, 2016 (LBO) – Sri Lanka expects to sign the Economic and Technology Co-operation Agreement (ETCA) with India by the end of this year, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said. Addressing the India Economic Summit 2016, Prime Minister Wickremesinghe said it will help Sri Lanka to strengthen economic ties. “The proposed ETCA will be signed by the end of this year,” Wickremesinghe said. “Prime Minister Modi and I have decided that we must conclude it by the end of this year.” ETCA offers a strategic advantage to Sri Lanka and the fast growing southern Indian states. Five southern Indian states, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Telengana, have a population of 250 million people and a combined GDP of nearly 450 billion US dollars. “With the addition of Sri Lanka’s 22 million and 80 billion US dollar economy, the GDP in this sub region will be 500 billion US dollars,” Wickremesinghe said. “ETCA has the potential to promote the rapid growth of 500 billion US dollars sub region economy.” He said Sri Lanka is also negotiating a FTA with Singapore eventually creating a tripartite arrangement between India, Sri Lanka and Singapore. Wickremesinghe also highlighted the need for an economic cooperation with BIMSTEC countries.